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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Filling Gaps in the White House Website, Part 50

Like other high-profile opponents of school choice -- Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson -- the president sends his own children to an expensive private school. The issue came up when the president talked about education in an NBC interview that featured guest questions via video link:

Ms. KELLY BURNETT: Good morning. Thank you for taking my question, President Obama . As a father of two very delightful and seemingly very bright daughters, I wanted to know whether or not you think that Malia and Sasha would get the same high-quality, rigorous education in a DC public school as compared to their very elite private academy that they're attending now?

Pres. OBAMA: Well, thanks for the question, Kelly .

Ms. BURNETT: Mm-hmm.

Pres. OBAMA: And I 'll be blunt with you. The answer's no right now. The DC public school systems are struggling. Now, they have made some important strides over the last several years to move in the direction of reform .

Ms. BURNETT: Right.

Pres. OBAMA: There are some terrific individual schools in the DC system -- and that's true, by the way, in every city across the country . In my hometown of Chicago there are some great public schools that are on par with any private school in the country . But it goes to the point Matt and I were talking about earlier. A lot of times you've got to test in or there -- it's a lottery pick...

Ms. BURNETT: Right.

Pres. OBAMA: ...for you to be able to get into those schools, and so those options are not available for enough children.

Ms. BURNETT: Right.

Pres. OBAMA: I'll be very honest with you. Given my position, if I wanted to find a great public school for Malia and Sasha to be in, we could probably maneuver to do it. But the broader problem is for a mom or a dad who are, you know, working hard but don't have a bunch of connections, you know, don't have a lot of choice in terms of where they live...

Ms. BURNETT: Right.

Pres. OBAMA: ...they should be getting the same quality education for their kids as anybody else. And we don't have that yet.

LAUER: Kelly , thank you very much for your question. I appreciate it.